questions & answers: itinerary check

worth buying a jr pass?

Worth buying a jr pass?

I will be travelling in a group of 5 people in April and we are wondering if the JRpass is economical for our trip or are we better buying separate train tickets? Our schedule is:

4 Osaka
5 Kyoto
6 Kyoto
7 Kyoto
8 Kyoto
9 Hiroshima
10 Hiroshima
11 Hiroshima
12 Tokyo
13 Tokyo
14 Tokyo
15 Tokyo
16 Tokyo
17 Osaka
18 Fly



It comes close, but a 2 week JR Pass would pay off - even better if you take a few day trips and extend your itinerary a bit.
When you get to Japan, the renovations will have been completed for Himeji Castle (Japan's finest), after many years of work, and it would make a splendid side trip for you.
For Kyoto, be sure to take at least half a day and see Nara as well. When the Kyoto temples/shrines close around 5PM, you can easily zip over to Osaka and enjoy the night life there. Dotonbori is a must see place. And the views from the Umeda Sky Bldg and Abeno Harukas Bldg are spectacular.

For Hiroshima, IMHO one day is enough to see Hiroshima City, and one day for Miyajima. You can use the extra day to explore nearby sites like Iwakuni, with its iconic bridge and mountaintop castle. It is also good for cherry blossoms:

You can see it in a few hours. You can also spend some time in Okayama, which has one of Japan's most famous historical gardens, Korakuen, as well as a lovely and almost unknown garden, Handayama:

Or if you prefer, there is the beautiful Kotohira in Kagawa, Shikoku. It's famous for its shrine and mountaintop view, but it is the climb up that is the real adventure:

Another choice is the little known city of Onomichi. It has a hillside temple tour you can take; but its real treasure is an almost unknown temple on one of its small islands - in fact it's been thought of as almost a Buddhist Disneyland:

For the Tokyo area, some popular day trips are Nikko, Kamakura/Enoshima, and Hakone.

Take lots of memory cards and a good camera - you will probably be taking a ton of photos.


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